Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dmitry Chernikov defends universalism

Linking to you here may expose you to attack, I warn you Dmitry.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

"If I were God, and if I foresaw the eternal torture of the damned, I wouldn’t have created the world."

*chuckle*

Anonymous said...

If universalism is true, can that really be made consistent with Christianity? That may be why William Craig's answer seems so unappealing, because he actually made it consistent with doctrine.

normajean said...

Chernicov should give a listen to one of Craig’s Biola lectures on middle knowledge if he hasn’t already done so.

normajean said...

“It is up to God whether I find myself in a world in which I am predestined. But it is up to me whether I am predestined in the world in which I find myself.”

~some French Molinist

Anonymous said...

what is it about universalism that seems incompatible with Christianity? Consider, for example, Tom Talbott's account of universalism, according to which there is a hell, it's a horrible place, most people go there, and you can't get to heaven without repentance and the application of Christ's atonement. However, ultimately, everyone (including people in hell) *will* repent and have the atonement applied to them.

What is it about this account that seems incompatible with Christianity -- even conservative evangelical Christianity? If it's certain biblical texts, see Talbott's book, The Inescapable Love of God, where he argues that all texts that have been used against universalism (at least of the sort here) do not have anti-universalistic interpretations, and in fact many texts clearly imply universalism (especially Paul's epistles).

Perhaps one will argue that there may be certain passages that *appear* to teach universalism, but that they should be given a non-universalistic interpretation given a certain set of proof-texts that seem to teach the opposite. So one might reason against universalistic interpretations as follows:

1. Passages x, y, z seem to teach universalism.
2. But passages a, b, c seem to clearly teach non-universalism.
3. The Bible is consistent in its teaching.
-----
4. Therefore, one should give the universalistic passages a non-universalistic interpretation.

But the problem is that the universalist can give the same line of reasoning for the opposite conclusion:

1'. Passages x, y, z seem to teach non-universalism.
2'. But passages a, b, c seem to clearly teach universalism.
3. The Bible is consistent in its teaching.
-----
4. Therefore, one should give the non-universalistic passages a universalistic interpretation.

So no "let Scripture interpret Scripture" argument is going to help here, since there seem to be "clear" passages for each position. What to do? Well, Talbott argues that one should appeal to other considerations, such as overall theological themes in the Bible, and the account of the nature of God that best explains our moral intuitions, and that is most conducive to spiritual growth in the faith. But then Talbot argues that his version of universalism meets all of these criteria better than any other large-scale theological picture (such as Calvinism and Arminianism).

Now I'm not arguing for universalism. Rather, my point is that if universalism is incompatible with christianity (even conservative evangelical christianity), then this isn't obvious. It's certainly worth a serious look!

Edward T. Babinski said...

ON UNIVERSALISM & THE BIBLE
Visit the blog "Chrisendom" (without the "t") and click on the sidebar to the right featuring his blog pieces on "universalism." Chris is a sharp good spirited British theology student studying in Germany. Interesting stuff.